TheCold War saw a competition between the worlds two great powers, the democraticcapitalist United state and the communist Soviet Union.
Both sides would fightto have the best technology in space, and who could achieve the first. As worldwar II was coming to an end the Americans and the soviets captured Germanysrocket engineers and their rocket technology including V-2’s (see appendix 2).One recruit of value for the Americans was the rocket engineer Werner von Braunwho would lead the U.S.
program. The Soviets meanwhile, would recruit Ukraineborn Sergei Korolev to lead the soviets space program. In 1955 both countries announcedthat they would be launching satellites into orbit. The Soviet Russian’s tookthe lead by becoming the first to put a successful satellite into orbit whenthey launched Sputnik 1 (see appendix 3) on October 4, 1957. Unfortunately forthe Americans their successful launch of their first satellite, Explorer 1,would come a whole four months later. Next would come another remarkableachievement and it would go again to the Soviets, the first man in space, in April1961 cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first personto orbit the earth. Traveling in the spacecraft Vostok 1, when he came back to earthGagarin became a hero to the Soviet Union and a celebrity worldwide. Thelagging U.
S. launched The Freedom 7 three weeks later and astronaut Alan Shepardbecame the first American in space. The Americans were embarrassed at beingbehind the Soviet Union and on May 25 1961, President John F.
Kennedy made abold claim to congress, that America would be the first to put a man on themoon and they would do it before the end of the decade. The Apollo Program waslaunched. Meanwhile in February 1962, John Glenn became the first American toorbit earth and on June 1963 soviet cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova became thefirst woman in space. NASA now had an increase in its budget to achieve itsdaunting goal of putting a man on the moon first, and by the end of the decade.
After many test flights, training and experiments, The Apollo 11 spacecraft waslaunched into space on July 16, 1969. Onboard the Apollo 11 were American astronautsNeil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins. On July 20, 1969 the Eagle hadlanded on the moon’s surface Neil Armstrong stepped outside and became thefirst man to walk on the moon, he then said those famous words “That’s onesmall step for man, one giant leap for mankind”. America had officially won thespace race.